HELLO, December

Hello, December! We’ve already felt the crisp chill in the air that you bring and it is heavenly! We’re ready for the magic that you hold in this most glorious of seasons. We’re ready for hot chocolate and quiet early mornings in the dark where we softly listen to Christmas music and let the morning unfold as it will.

We’re ready for late nights by the glow of the Christmas tree lights to watch old movies while we feast on popcorn . We’re ready to work on our Christmas puzzles and play endless games of Scrabble. We’re ready for the stillness that you bring as the world darkens and quiets.

We’re ready for school to come to a close for the year and the breathing space that brings. We’re ready for the mile high coconut cake that Christmas will deliver and the fact that a piece or two might get eaten for breakfast alongside a fresh cup of coffee.

We’re ready for holiday baking and the house to smell of gingerbread. We’re ready for frosty morning walks where the breeze bites our cheeks and we stop to watch the waves roll in and maybe spot a seal or two. We’re ready for all that you hold and have to offer and the enchanting feeling that hangs in the air like mist.

{Snow at a Shrine Entrance, Kawase Hasui, 1929 // Found HERE}

HELLO, November

Hello, November! We’re ready for the full shift to autumn that you will bring, early nights and darker mornings. We’re ready for leaves crunching underfoot and the smell of woodsmoke in the air and crispy apples packed as snacks.

We’re ready to feast by the glow of candlelight and sip hot apple ciders and munch on gingersnaps for our evening dessert. We’re ready for the promise of Thanksgiving that comes near the end of your monthly reign this year. And the smells of turkey and gravy and baked sweet potato pie that will fill the air.

We’re ready to move into “sweater weather” and take rambling walks with our wellies on, through the muddy fields and up to the hills to look out over the water. We’re ready for twinkle lights to glitter from every nook and cranny and we’re ready for the stillness that you bring with late autumn evenings where all the world is quiet except for the whistling of the wind.

Welcome November!

{The Mushroom Gatherers, by Abigail Halpin // Pinned HERE}

HELLO, October

Hello, October! You’ve arrived so swiftly on the wind that I’m not entirely sure what has happened to September? It has passed in a haze. But, we’re happy that you’re here with all the heady scent of autumn and magic that you bring. 

We’re ready for a chance to be still for just a little bit as that was not an opportunity we were given last month. We’re ready for the evenings to draw themselves in sooner. We’re ready to make our first batch of butternut squash soup for the season, with crusty bread to dip into it and a plate of sliced apples and cheese to go alongside. 

We’re ready for crisp clear autumn days to hike in the nature reserve with a sprinkling of rainy Sundays thrown in so we can curl up and read books with a cup of tea close at hand. We’re ready for our front porch to be decorated with pumpkins and mums to bring a smattering of colour to grey days.

We’re ready for our annual household festivities to begin in the lead up to Halloween, with decorating and witches’ hats and bowls of candy scattered around. We’re ready to feast on marshmallow popcorn balls while watching some of our favourite old Halloween movies. 

We’re ready for all that you bring and the enchantment that you hold, for you are truly the month that walks us into autumn and all of her glory. 

{Laurel Goodwin modeling for E.J. Brach & Sons, 1966 Halloween Ad HERE // Pinned HERE}

Beneath The Amber Moon

Today we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox. And without a doubt you can sense the transition of moving from one season into the next. The light is changing and so are the shadows. There has been a nip to the first blush of dawn air this past week, before the day fully awakens and gradually begins to warm up.

In autumn of last year, Fortnum & Mason held their second annual “Chocolate Library Short Story Writing Competition”. They had selected a number of titles from their chocolate library collection. A starting point for each bar was given and the writer had free rein to create a tale around the decadent chocolate bar of their choosing. Not including Fortnum & Mason’s opening, the story had to be kept to a maximum of 500 words. 

I read each chocolate bar ingredient description and the suggested jumping off point and one in particular stood out to me. For the fun of it, I thought I would enter the competition. I didn’t win, but it was an excellent exercise in working towards a concise story. Drafting, writing, cutting the fluff and ensuring that the tale you have woven has good “meat and potatoes” and not too much gravy. 

I wanted to save it for posterity and so I thought I would share it here, an autumnal story for the official start of the fall season.

Beneath The Amber Moon

On a cold autumn night, one of Britain’s smallest villages will become the country’s most infamous, with the perplexing disappearance of all its inhabitants.

She arrived on the wind; her gold stockinged feet landing amongst the crisp russet autumn leaves. Her skin hummed with magic underneath a velvet cape. Soft orange curls, tinged with highlights of garnet, framed a delicate face and the bridge of her nose was sprinkled with chocolate hued freckles. She smelled exotically of spice and musk.

She had heard tales of this hamlet while sitting on her grandmother’s knee by the fire. The shadows dancing and leaping along the wall transformed into shapes that told of a village filled with strange folk. A folk who made a concoction of velvet fire that tickled your nose and filled your belly with a radiant heat that traveled down into your toes. They celebrated this caramel hued elixir one night a year when the amber moon hung low and bathed the world in a shimmer of gilded beams.

She knew that one day she would seek out this mystical village to bring this epicurean liquid back to her land. It would be the singular ingredient that distinguished their hot chocolate above all others. Now, after the passing of many moons and her unceasing exploration, she stood at the edge of the oak woods and sniffed the air.

Dusk was not far off. The villagers were gathered round a radiant bonfire that had been lit upon the tor. For on this night of the amber moon an illustrious feast was held to toast the harvest. There was music, dancing and merriment as whiskey passed from one hand to another. 

Silently, she stole through the town, observed only by an ebony cat perched on its doorstep. As she approached the bonfire the revelry was in full swing. Weaving through the crowds she came to stand in front of the flames. From within her cloak she produced a small copper pot and a bar of milk chocolate. Nestling the pot amongst the embers she broke the chocolate into it. The sweet aroma of warm cacao drew the curious villagers around the stranger.

Suddenly, a hand thrust out a finger of whiskey. Taking the offered dram she poured it in. The mixture bubbled and frothed. Decanting the brew, she took a sip and was momentarily overcome; she had found the ingredient she had long sought. From one villager to the other it was passed while she whispered an incantation. They all imbibed and the goblet never ran out.

The air around them sizzled and sparked. With every word that fell from her lips, their dancing became more frenzied, their singing more raucous, and the fiddling more thunderous. They were bewitched. And, with a snap of her fingers they all vanished. A hush fell over the village. 

No one knows what happened to these poor souls. But, as night falls, beneath the amber moon some say you can still hear the merriment of laughter and song; catch the potpourri of chocolate and whiskey in the air; and see the bonfire flickering on the tor. 

HELLO, September

Hello, September! August moved too quickly for me even though we savoured each and every moment. I could spool that thread out a little longer before it is woven into the tapestry of this year. And now, suddenly we’ve ushered in September! We await to see what she brings as the air has been cooler the past two weeks. So, we’ll see if she will carry that on, or give us a delicious Indian Summer, where we can bathe in the last warmth of summer just a touch longer. 

We welcomed September this morning, or I should say, she welcomed us, by gifting us with an enchanting walk to school. We saw three dolphins in the water, swimming at a steady pace and sometimes diving down to fish. My heart was beyond filled with JOY! Our morning was entirely sprinkled with magic.

We’re not quite ready to go back to school, but we are ready for cooler mornings where the light takes a little longer to arrive. We’re ready for crispy apples dipped in caramel as an afternoon snack and popcorn and hot cider next to us while we watch an evening movie. 

We’re ready to gather the the last of the blackberries coming in on the vines and eating our weight in all manner of fruit pies dolloped with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. And we’re ready to savour the last of the yellow squash and heirloom tomatoes before they disappear till next summer’s bounty arrives.

We’re ready for hikes in the nature reserve when the leaves are starting to turn and stopping to feast on cheese and chutney sandwiches on the rocks overlooking the water. 

We’re still holding on to those last remnants of summer, but September, we’re ready to see what you hold for us. 

{Selkie by Lore Pemberton // Pinned HERE}

HELLO, August

Hello, August. We’re waiting to see what you bring us. July ended with a bit of a nip to the air and we’re hoping that you bring warmer days and calmer waters our way, because we’re ready for early morning swims and hot coffee on the beach from our thermos.

We’re ready for bowls of fresh watermelon for lunch and early morning walks up to the nature reserve when the world is quiet. We’re ready for days spent reading our books and finishing our jigsaw puzzle and drinking sweet tea and feasting on sugar cookies as an afternoon snack as the breeze blows through the windows. 

We’re ready to stay up late watching old movies and playing scrabble. We’re ready to eat our weight in fresh corn on the cob from the green grocers and cheeseburgers loaded with slices of heirloom tomatoes and to gobble up fruit cobblers with a heaping scoop of homemade ice cream on top. 

But, mostly we’re ready for a chance to catch our breath and to just be. 

{Sand Shark Bar, Janet Hill Studio}

School’s Out For Summer

School’s out for summer and I couldn’t be happier! We’re celebrating tonight with a pizza party, homemade vanilla ice cream sundaes and we’re watching “Dazed and Confused”, which is our last day of school tradition.

Hello, Summer! We are more than ready for YOU!

{Deena Martin as ‘Shavonne’, Christine Harnos as ‘Kaye’, and Michelle Burke as ‘Jodi’ in a publicity still from Dazed & Confused, 1993 found HERE}